Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Pat Mora.
A Birthday Basket for Tía
Cecilia and her cat, Chica, create a special birthday present for her great-aunt's 90th birthday — a basket filled with things Cecilia and her tía have shared. This affectionate autobiographical story is illustrated with warm colors, suggestive of Mexican American traditions.
A Library for Juana
This picture book biography introduces Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, one of Mexico's most beloved scholars and poets. At the age of three, Juana promised her sister's teacher that she was "quiet like a turtle" so that she could stay at the school and learn to read. Later, Juana would become a nun and produce poetry that is still learned by children in Mexico today. Handsome, detailed paintings evoke Mexican folk art and tell the story of Juana's life.
A Piñata in a Pine Tree
In this festive holiday book, Pat Mora blends traditions by setting her own Spanish lyrics to the popular Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Each verse describes a Latino custom, often related to the celebration of Three Kings Day: "On the second day of Christmas my amiga gave to me / dos pastelitos / and a piñata in a pine tree." Vibrant acrylic illustrations of guitarritas, luminarias, and piñatas dance with joy on the colorful pages.
Agua, Agua, Agua
Crow knows where to find water amid rocks and how to get it even though it's below the reach of his beak. The predictable patterns and repetition of words in this simple retelling of a fable invites participation. Bold illustrations use broad shapes and confident line in strong borders contained in a small format ideal for a new reader or to share on a lap.
Even though there's a special day called Children's Day/Book Day, children and books can be celebrated everyday and in any place as is demonstrated in this vibrant book. Energetic illustrations show a wide range of children and animals playing, reading, and just plain having fun with each other and with books.
This handsomely illustrated collection of accessible poems invites young and old alike to, “read, let’s write, let’s explore galore!” Whether enjoying the magic in a library or an imaginary canyon, a variety of poems celebrate the sheer pleasure of words and writing to create “bookjoy, wordjoy”!
On a starry night, a group of lizards and their friends gather for music, food, and fun — a delicious hullabaloo! Whether it's the mangos, cerezas dules (sweet cherries), or the sassy salsa, everyone is sure to find a treat that they enjoy in this delightful poem illustrated with colorful, whimsical depictions of a desert setting.
Dona Flor has gigantic proportions and unusual skills such as understanding the language of plants. Eventually, her talents are appreciated by the villagers in this attractively illustrated, richly told original tale. Winner of Pura Belpré Award. Also available in Spanish.
Gracias / Thanks
From the sun that wakens him to the cricket that serenades him to sleep, a young boy gives thanks for the many kinds of friends who help him throughout the day. Pat Mora's reflection on gratitude is filled with kindness and humor, brought to life by John Parra's heartwarming illustrations. Pat concludes the book with an author's note about the things she for which she feels grateful. Bilingual text.
A Hispanic family's preparation for dinner is presented in easy words in both Spanish and English. Warm illustrations depict an affectionate family enjoying their daily routine. This is the first book in Pat Mora's My Family/Mi Familia series, a four-book collection of easy-read bilingual books.
Listen to the Desert/Oye al desierto
Meet desert animals and hear the sounds they make, presented both in English and Spanish. Repetition is used to highlight the similarity and subtle differences of sounds and to play with alliteration. Stylized, brightly colored illustrations complement this breezy, lively book.
Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers
Thirteen poems rejoice in Latina women, their diversity, and their roles. This short, illustrated collection celebrates Spanish-speaking countries as well as bilingualism in the United States. Illustrations swirl across each page, combining computer generated and traditional art with energetic results.
Product Description: Amalia's best friend Martha is moving away, and Amalia is feeling sad and angry. And yet, even when life seems unfair, the loving, wise words of Amalia's abuelita have a way of making everything a little bit brighter. But when another loss racks Amalia's life, nothing makes sense anymore. In her sorrow, will Amalia realize just how special she is, even when the ones she loves are no longer near?
Maria Paints the Hills
A simple, poetic narrative provides a frame for lush paintings of the New Mexico landscape. A young girl describes her day, what she sees, where she goes and provides a focus for the handsome, well-produced paintings by early 20th century artist, Maria Hesch. Combined, art and text convey the simple pleasures in a child's day.
My Magic Wand: Growing with the Seasons
Join a young child as she shares her magic wand — a pencil. Short poems celebrate the pleasures of a year of family, celebrations, and everyday experiences. Mixed-media illustrations complement the bright tone. A note by the author reminds readers that not all poems rhyme and will likely encourage writing.
Sweet Dreams (My Family/Mi Familia series)
It's bedtime, and Grandma has come to tuck everyone in. One by one, she kisses her grandchildren good-night in a loving refrain that reminds them of all the other friends who are closing their eyes and falling asleep. The soothing text and gentle drawings make this the perfect way to end a busy day. Bilingual text.
The Desert Is My Mother
A girl with long, dark hair appreciates the surprisingly lush and colorful desert: "I say feed me,/She serves red prickly pears " The poetic text in both Spanish and English is placed on different colors on one side of the page; crisp, full-color illustrations appear on the opposing page to celebrate this beautiful setting.
The Rainbow Tulip
Stella and her brothers speak Spanish at home but English at school. Being different is both scary and exciting. Stella learns this when she prepares for the school's celebration of May Day. She finds a way to honor her Mexican background by wearing a special skirt that is both alike yet different from the other girls'. Stella, like many children, can take pride in being part of two cultures. (In English sprinkled with Spanish).
Tomás and the Library Lady
Tomás, child of migrant workers, visits the town library to find stories like the ones told by his grandfather. There he meets a librarian who provides him with a cool place, stories and books, and friendship before Tomás and his family move on to the next place. Handsomely illustrated in earth tones, this touching story was inspired by the real life of writer and educator, Tomás Rivera. Also available in Spanish.
Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three
Two girls go to a Mexican market to prepare for the celebration of their mother's birthday. As they gather what they need from one to ten, their excitement mounts. The rhyming, bilingual text combines with colorful, highly stylized illustrations to present a treat for eyes and ears.
Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube
Evocative watercolors and short, lyrical poems take readers on a trip, "Around our round world" where "water rolls/water rises/under gold sun, under white moon." A brief note from the author and the illustrator provides insight into their inspirations.
¡Yum! & ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!
Celebrate the native foods of the Americas — peanuts, blueberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and more — through haiku poetry and stunning artwork from award-winning illustrator Rafael López.
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